India is all set to enhance its military might by inducting the ultra light Howitzer M777, procurred from the United States Government under its Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme.
Out of the 145 guns ordered, two will make way to India on Friday, ahead of the schedule, and the remaining will take another five or six months.
In addition to this, only 25 guns will be delivered by the U.S., remaining 120 will be assembled by Mahindra Defence under the government’s flagship programme ‘Make in India.’
The Centre sealed the deal with the U.S. government on November 17 which is worth Rs. 4,700 crore.
Lt. Gen V.K. Chaturvedi told ANI, “The total deal is worth Rs. 4,700 crore. Bofors is a pretty expensive gun. A single gun may cost Rs. 30 to 32 crore. The sky rocketing price is due to the usage of the Titanium metal, which is currently unavailable in India.”
“It is because of this metal, that the Howitzer is dubbed as a ‘light weight military weapon’. The metal brings down the overall weight of the artillery gun outright,” Lt. Gen Chaturvedi added.
These artillery guns with the range of 30 kilometers will bolster the Indian Army’s firing might especially against China in the eastern front and in out-of-area contingency. It will be deployed on mountains in the eastern border with China.
The FMS programme eliminates the role of all the brokers, who can be involved, and ensures transparent sales, which take place one on one between the governments. This, in turn, blocks the chances of any scams that the transactions may lead to.
This deal is the first since Bofors scandal broke out in the 1980s.